The 9 Best Office Chairs, According to Lab Testing
Whether you work in an office or have an at-home workspace, an office chair is an essential part of any setup. After all, you'll likely spend hours each day using it, so you'll want to find one that's durable, ergonomic, and the right size for your desk space. And if you're using it at home, you may prefer an option with a stylish flair.
To find out which styles are the best, we purchased 22 office chairs and put them to the test at our lab in Des Moines, Iowa. Over the course of two days, testers evaluated each option based on seven categories: setup, comfort, lumbar support, adjustability, design, durability, and overall value. We also consulted Dr. Matthew Devoe, DC, owner of Empire City Chiropractic.
Overall, we recommend the Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair. The chair, which received a near-perfect score during testing, is comfortable, supportive, and adjustable. It also has a classic yet stylish look that'll work in most office spaces.
Here, the best office chairs for your home.
- Best Overall: Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair
- Best Budget: Amazon Basics Low-Back Office Chair
- Best Lumbar Support: Respawn 110 Racing Style Gaming Chair
- Best Faux Leather: Laura Davidson Furniture Soho Management Chair
- Best Fabric: Three Posts Mayson Drafting Chair
- Best Office Gaming Chair: Best Office High Back Gaming Chair
- Best Mesh: Alera Manager's Chair
- Best Adjustable: Office Star Pro-Line II High Back Managers Chair
- Best Cushioned: Poppin Max Task Chair
What We Recommend
The Bottom Line
Overall, we recommend the Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair because the office chair offers comfort, support, and adjustability. Plus, it's easy to assemble and has a minimal design that'll look good in most office spaces. For a budget-friendly option, consider the Amazon Basics Low-Back Office Chair. The chair is easy to assemble, has a durable construction, and is offered in multiple colors.
Our Testing Process
Over the course of two days, five product testers went to our lab in Des Moines, Iowa, and put 22 different office chairs to the test. The testers set up each chair and timed themselves assembling the products based on their included instructions. From there, the testers used a predetermined methodology to score each chair between one and five in seven categories: setup, comfort, lumbar support, adjustability, design, and durability, and overall value.
What to Know About Office Chairs Before Shopping
When it comes to office chairs, you can either choose a swivel style or a stationary option. Though it may not seem like it, a chair's ability to swivel is actually an important feature to consider, especially for those who are spending long periods of time sitting at their desk.
"This function is underrated and often overlooked but is huge in terms of allowing the user to constantly make micro-adjustments to their posture throughout the day rather than being fixated in one position," Dr. Devoe says.
Adjustable Seat Height
Though a stationary chair may be more stylish than traditional utilitarian-looking office chairs, being able to adjust your seat height will help you fit the desk to a variety of desk heights and create an ergonomic workspace to avoid aches and pains.
"Being able to finetune the height of your seat will have a big impact on your hips and allow you to adjust your chair to most desk heights," Dr. Devoe says. Some options will have one or two height settings, while others will allow you explore a range of height options that you can then lock into place, so keep that in mind while you compare options.
While you shop, Dr. Devoe also recommends selecting an option that has a firm back as opposed to the common mesh-backed options on the market. Overall, firmer options will offer more support and better protect your back over time.
"I usually avoid mesh backings for the same reason it's not good to sleep every night in a hammock," he says. "They usually promote flexion of the lumbar spine as you sink into them, and this results in increased pressure on your discs, which could lead to a bulge or herniation in the future."
Other Office Chairs We Tested
Amazon Basics Executive Home Office Desk Chair with Padded Armrests
Overall, testers felt they would recommend the padded chair because it was comfortable and, in their opinion, it was fairly priced. Setup took less time than some other options, although testers noted the pieces were fairly heavy and they would have appreciated clearer instructions. It received a low score for adjustability, with testers saying you can only change the seat's height—depending on the person, however, that may be all you need.
The Container Store Flat Bungee Office Chair with Arms
During testing, The Container Store's Bungee Office Chair received high scores for its modern, unique design. Testers felt that the nontraditional bungee cord backing seemed sturdy, although they were curious how well it would really hold up over time. During setup, testers felt that the instructions were clear, although they needed two people to complete assembly.
Union & Scale Essentials Mesh Back Fabric Task Chair
Testers scored the Union & Scale Fabric Task Chair a 4/5 overall but noted that it's not ideal for someone who needs to sit in it often for long periods of time. Thanks to color-coded screws and labeled parts, testers were able to easily assemble the chair within 20 minutes. However, the seat only has one height adjustment, so it may not work for everyone.
Your Questions, Answered
What is the correct way to sit in an office chair?
No matter how long you sit in an office chair, it's easy to fall into poor posture that could impact your neck and back, causing pain. According to Dr. Devoe, poor posture puts you at risk for disc bulges and herniations, sciatica, lower back pain, headaches, neck pain, and fatigue. Although a supportive office chair is a great place to start, your desk layout and how you use the chair are what will make a difference over time.
"The first step is making sure your monitor is high enough so that it perpetuates proper posture rather than allowing you to sink down into a slouched position," Dr. Devoe says. "Step two is to sit all the way back in your chair so that your pelvis is in a neutral or slightly forward tilted position. This will promote the proper lumbar lordosis and reduce the amount of stress put on your discs throughout the day."
What is lumbar support, and why is it important?
Lumbar support refers to support for the lower part of your back. And while it's certainly important to protect your back while sitting in an office desk chair, it's worth noting that back support is a cohesive system that requires more than just any built-in features a chair has.
"The first step to support your lumbar spine is to raise your computer so your eyes are in line with the center of your screen (not the top)," Dr. Devoe says. "Once you do this, then you can consider using either the lumbar support on your chair or adding something to your chair to help with that support."
Do I need an office chair that's highly adjustable?
Although adjustable seat height is a common and important feature to have in an office desk chair, some options also have other adjustable features that may catch your eye. For example, adjustable footrests, headrests, and armrests. Though it may seem like a more advanced option, Dr. Devoe cautions against them.
"There is a misconception that the more adjustable features an office chair has, the better it is," Dr. Devoe says. "While that is correct to a certain extent (e.g. seat height), more adjustable features usually just allow you to fall into a poor position for longer periods of time. This can result in deeper rooted lower back and neck pain as well as bad postural habits that are harder to break. "
Who We Are
Jamie Weissman is a commerce editor with two years of experience covering home products. To make this list, she considered insights from product testers who rated each chair's setup, comfort, lumbar support, adjustability, design, and durability. She also consulted Dr. Matthew Devoe, DC, owner of Empire City Chiropractic.